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How to Start Planning for College in 11th Grade

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How to Start Planning for College in 11th Grade

You’re now a high school junior! It’s time to step up your college planning game and make sure you’re on track for applying to colleges.

Here’s a breakdown of the steps in our college planning checklist for 11th grade. If you’re a parent, you can also follow the family action plan for 11th grade.

College planning tasks you can do before winter break (September–December):

  •  Make a list of what you’re interested in studying and explore career ideas
  •  Learn about colleges and save schools you’re interested in to your College Board account
  •  Make an appointment with your counselor to ask about upcoming college fairs and which college representatives are visiting your high school
    • Browse the college brochures and catalogs in your counselor’s office—you might find a college you haven’t thought of
  •  Ask your counselor or a teacher about taking the PSAT/NMSQT scheduled in October
    • You may be eligible for scholarship opportunities after taking the PSAT/NMSQT
    • If you plan to ask for testing accommodations because of a disability, make sure you learn about the request process and start early
  •  Manage your college search, test scores, and application statuses by saving information in your College Board account
    • If you’re looking at visual and performing arts majors, some colleges require a portfolio or audition, so look into the Major and Career Search tool and find out how you need to prepare
  •  Estimate how much college might cost and how much financial aid you may need with our free Tools & Calculators
  •  Register to take the SAT and/or the SAT Subject Tests and practice on Khan Academy® for free
  •  Consider taking AP classes and earning college credits through AP Exams
  •  Opt in to the College Board Opportunity Scholarships and start earning chances at scholarships for $500–$40,000


College planning tasks you can do before the school year ends (January–May):

  •  If you’re considering military academies or ROTC scholarships, you should begin the application process the summer before your senior year
  •  Continue to build your college list and explore schools by type, housing options, majors, sports, student organizations, cost, and more
  •  Take the SAT or consider retaking the SAT
    • Double-check if you’re eligible for a fee waiver—if you are, make sure you review all the benefits
    • Remember—67% of students improve their score the second time around
  •  Learn 3 different ways of getting financial aid and get a copy of your family’s tax returns
  •  If you’re considering playing sports in college as a student-athlete, make sure the NCAA® gets your SAT score and ask your counselor to upload your official transcript to the NCAA Eligibility Center
    • Check out our College Planning Checklist for Student-Athletes for more information


College planning tasks you can do in the summer and before beginning your senior year (June–August): 

  •  Find a full-time job, part-time job, or internship to gain work experience
  •  If you can, visit college campuses, attend an information session or a campus tour, and make sure you talk to current students or professors while you’re there
  •  Create a résumé so you have a record of your academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities, and work experience
    • Brag about your achievements!

Source: The College Board Blog, November 9, 2018


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